Yesterday, at exactly five weeks postpartum, I worked out for the first time since Jack’s arrival. Though it wasn’t perfect, it felt SO GOOD.
When I left the hospital after Jack’s birth, I was told that other than walking, I could not exercise until after my six-week postpartum visit. I admit that I haven’t always taken doctors’ instructions to rest as seriously as I should, but because I had a c-section and am (unreasonably) nervous about rupturing my internal stitches or impeding the healing process, I took the instruction seriously this time.
The doctor’s office ended up scheduling my appointment for five weeks postpartum and at that appointment earlier this week, my doctor cleared me to exercise without limitation.
I chose to do a short workout both because my mom was watching Jack and needed to get back to work and because I wanted to ease back into exercise. I used the gym in my apartment building so that I could get home quickly if Jack needed me.
I began by run-walking for two miles. I started walking at 4.0 mph for one minute and then running at 6.0 mph for one minute. I gradually increased my running speed and the amount of time for which I was running, while holding the one minute walking break constant. The longest and fastest that I ran was 7.0 mph for five minutes.
Next up, I did some light lifting. I focused on biceps and triceps and lifted for only six minutes.
Finally, I spent five minutes stretching and cooling down. I was in the gym for around thirty minutes.
It felt really great to break a sweat for the first time in over a month. In my adult life, I’ve never gone that long without any sort of intentional exercise. It was especially wonderful to be able to run, as I truly love running and had given it up at the end of my pregnancy.
I am in nowhere near the running shape that I was less than a year ago when I ran the Chicago Marathon, but I’m okay with that. I just grew a baby, so it will take time for my body to recover. Plus, I still have some pregnancy weight to lose, and carrying extra weight always makes running more difficult.
I also realized how excited I am to spend the next few months regaining my strength and endurance. Yesterday was a reminder of just how much I love feeling strong and fit.
There are definitely things that I’ll change for my next postpartum workout, which will be on Friday.
First, I need to make sure to nurse or pump on both sides before going for a run. I was a little “full” on my right side and ended up holding up my sports bra on that side for extra support each time I ran. While I was able to run, my form was atrocious, which could cause injury over longer distances.
Second, I need to get some bigger sports bras and shirts. I assumed that by five weeks postpartum, I’d be comfortable in the same clothes that I exercised in at the end of my pregnancy. Thanks to nursing, I need to go a size up.
Third, and related to the first two, ignoring my body’s current unique needs is a bad plan. I ended up with my first clogged duct, which can be caused by wearing bras that are too tight. While uncomfortable, I was able to clear it by nursing and pumping every couple of hours, but I’d rather not deal with it again.
I don’t have a set goal in mind for when I want to have lost my baby weight. However, I do want to feel strong and comfortable in my body again in time for spring races. I also want to fit into all of my pre-pregnancy pants in the next month or so, because I’m not interested in purchasing a new winter wardrobe to accommodate a few extra pounds.
Now that I can do more exercise, I look forward to slowly regaining my strength and speed.